Friday, October 07, 2022

Right Ho, Jeeves by P.G. Wodehouse

I haven't read this particular book in a decade or two, and have never written about it here. But I have written about Wodehouse's Jeeves and Wooster books more than once: all the way back to a very short mention of Very Good, Jeeves! in 2006, the early stories in My Man Jeeves in 2008, The Inimitable Jeeves a year later, then Jeeves in the Offing more recently. I also wrote about the Sebastian Faulks sharecrop book Jeeves and the Wedding Bells twice, five years apart (2014 and 2019), without apparently noticing.

I've also written about other Wodehouse books, since I'm in the habit of reading one roughly once a quarter. (Hey, he wrote a hundred books, and all of the ones I've read are wonderful, and I've still got thirty or so I've never even read once.) For example, mostly recently: Barmy in Wonderland, Lord Emsworth and OthersService with a Smile, The Little Nugget, Money for Nothing, Uncle Fred in the SpringtimeBring on the Girls, Over Seventy, Bachelors Anonymous, A Pelican at Blandings, Ukridge, and Young Men in Spats.

So: my opinions on Wodehouse in general and Jeeves/Wooster in particular are not exactly secret or obscure. Wodehouse is one of the great comic writers of all time; the Jeeves/Wooster books are among his best; his peak was mostly in the interwar years. Some people will rank Uncle Fred or (especially) the Blandings book above Jeeves, but there's broad consensus on all three of those things.

Right Ho, Jeeves is the 1935 novel in which noted newt-fancier Gussie Fink-Nottle finds love with the soppy Madeleine Bassett (fond of noting that the stars are God's daisy chain) and in which Tuppy Glossop similarly finds love with Bertie's Cousin Angela. There also are related complications around Angela's ancestral pile, Brinkley Court, involving her mother, Bertie's Aunt Dahlia, and her incomparable French chef Anatole. It is all set in motion by Bertie's intransience about a white mess jacket that was a big hit in Cannes - but which Jeeves notes will be entirely wrong for English wear - and Bertie's subsequent insitence that Jeeves has lost his touch, so Bertie will instead take charge of solving all of these problems.

Reader, he does not do so. But Jeeves does bring peace and happiness to all in the end. And it is all glorious to read - this isn't quite as wonderful as Joy in the Morning, the peak of the Jeeves books, but it's close.

You know I recommend Wodehouse in general; I recommend this book in particular. There may come a time in your life when you need a book like this: Joy in the Morning was what I turned to right after my heart failure. I wish you all the joy and distraction that Wodehouse can bring.

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